Shawn Patrick Abel
Artist/Owner - &Abel Art and Design
I was born a rather large red-headed Taurus of Irish and German decent in Boise, ID in 1977. I hardly knew my mother even though she was present for large amounts of my youth. She was a woman who suffered from a host of physical/mental illnesses, many of which serve as my only connection to her. It was a connection I broke on my 15
th birthday with the words, 'Why don't you just drop dead?' and one that could never be restored when she died two weeks later. I grew up in a surreal exclusion both adrift in the plains west of Billings, MT while also surrounded by money and entitlement I had no access to. My father, Jim Abel, a painter/designer turned writer/producer/director, found success in the early 90's becoming a rather renowned videographer throughout the Northwest, and our bond could most accurately be called a professional one. From the age of 13 going forward, we worked far more together than we ever played. I have two brothers, but the events surrounding our mother's death, has caused a great divide that, it seems, cannot to be repaired.
As mentioned, my youth was spent amongst the rattlesnakes, thistle and Yucca plants of eastern Montana, surrounded by giant tan sandstone walls and privilege. My home was full of tension when it wasn't full of emptiness. It was drab when it wasn't frozen. It was lonely even when it was crowded. Vacations typically entailed trips to the state mental hospital in Warm Springs in the back of a Datsun 210 station wagon, so to escape that existence I turned inward towards creativity and imagination. To an attempt to turn the wafting dreariness into something better.
The freedom those mental trips gave me inspired me to learn every medium I could get my hands on. Crayons became colored pencils and markers which became charcoal and chalk which became paint and drafting tools and clay. I read 'How to Draw' books with far greater interest than 'Hardy Boys.' Watched Bob Ross instead of 'G.I. Joe.'
In high school I surpassed one of my teachers in a poster contest and decided that, if she was good enough to make a career out of art, that I should probably give it a go. I turned my skills commercial designing T-shirts and posters for the school until miraculously graduating with a poultry 1.8GPA - more of a 'Let's just get him out of here...' than 'Congratulations. Job well done!' for sure.
After high school I made a vain attempt at college. Frustrated by an overtly liberal English professor who graded political affiliation harsher than grammar, and a Chinese Algebra professor who had mastered math far better than the English language, I left after less than two years. At that time I decided the best education I could get was work. For several years after I drifted from T-shirt/embroidery companies to TV studios to print production companies to tattoo studios to newspapers, learning every aspect of each profession, mastering them, then moving on to learn, to consume more.
Along the way I was twice granted an opportunity to right the wrongs of my childhood through my own boys, though I failed to right the wrong of my parents failed marriage. We struggle through the life of a broken family, but we never forget to enjoy the good times we work so hard to create for each other. They are my greatest challenge and my greatest inspiration, and they have served to calm my wandering ways.
Finally at home in Billings, I embarked on a career as the Lead Digital Artist for Solo Graphics, a full service sign company. There I have developed into the regions premier vehicle wrap designer as well as the originator of the 'Outdoor Urban Art Gallery' with the 'Our Gallery Under the Big Sky' project.
While that experience allowed me to grow, it eventually became suffocating and exhausting. It's hard to contain me as an 'employee' as my interests cover such a wide variety of artistic endeavors, so, in the face of some ridiculousness, and much like a baby bird being flung from the next, I've decided to wager my fate on the faith in my ability. To that end, I give you &Abel Art and Design.
My work now primarily consists of a combination of professional graphic design/sign design (focused largely on non-profit organizations who's missions I support), and turning ordinary objects into personalized art pieces using a wide variety of materials, mediums and substrates. I am also pioneering work with digitally created paintings in a process I've developed over the past decade, pursuing my dream of a city sized art gallery, and looking for the next way to grow as an artist.
Van Gogh once said, "While it is all too true that most artists are mentally ill, it is a life that, to put it mildly, makes one an outsider." I've felt like an outsider for most of my life, it has, perhaps, made me a bit mentally ill, but it is my way of connecting with the rest of the world. It is what gives me the vision and passion as an artist and why I find the greatest personal and professional rewards in creating custom art pieces for others. The art we surround ourselves with tells part of our stories for us, and being a part of that story telling is extremely rewarding.
&Abel Art and Design offers professional graphic design services for Logos, Brand Building, Print Advertising, Vehicle Graphics and Signs, Commissioned Artwork, Original Paintings, Business Forms, Websites and more.
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Commissioned Digital Fine Art - Photo Paintings
Print Designs - Designed to be Printed by a Printer
Wide Format Vehicle Graphics - Billboards - Full Wraps
Logo Design - 3 Phase Process - All The Files You Will Need
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Lead Digital Artist
Jan 2010 - Mei 2012 (2 tahun, 4 bulan)
When I started here the company was a small, one man sign shop that was stuck in the ruts of small town projects. I immediately took some initiative and developed a rate sheet, started a branding campaign and invented a line of products. My position was technically just supposed to be as a graphic designer, but turned into a partner who was equally running the company with the owner. My design skills were put to good use, as was my experience with various other mediums where graphics are key.
Permaletter Sign Company
Feb 2006 - Jan 2007 (11 bulan, 1 hari)
This was my second entry as a sign company employee where I was responsible for cutting and weeding vinyl graphics, applying decals to sign faces and vehicles and other sign fabrication related duties. I used the non-design time to learn about the products and process available in the sign industry which eventually lead to my product innovations at the next sign company Solo Graphics.
Ogo 2004 - Jan 2006 (1 tahun, 5 bulan)
This was my first venture into the world of sign design and fabrication just as the industry was transitioning from spot color and cut vinyl to full color printed graphics. Because of this transition I learned how to design vector and bitmap graphics with equal efficiency and skill. I managed projects, did all of the design work, and made key decisions about installations.
No degree... went and got a JOB
Montana State University-Billings, United States 1996 - 1997
Volunteer of the Year - 2012
Billings Family YMCA
Many people don't realize that the YMCA mission is to provide more than just a place for a pick-up game of basketball or a Zumba class. The YMCA strives to enhance the lives of people on spiritual and cultural levels as well. As a local artist with a reputation for quality work, I was approached to provide my artistic knowledge and skills to make various visual improvements to the facility. Those improvements included new interior signage throughout the building, a remodeled daycare facility and a 15,000 square foot mural with a Dr. Seuss theme. My support of the YMCA commitment to cultural and spiritual growth in the community was honored with the Volunteer of the Year Award.
275 Feet of Art
The Billings Gazette
Thing says 'add publication' so I added something...
I've been in local news as an artist working to turn the downtown area of Billings into an art gallery. It's a big deal...
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